Employee Voices

Called to Mission-Driven Work

Driven by shared values, McKesson is committed to helping veterans find purpose in their careers



Read time: 5 minutes

What’s next?

It’s a question more than 200,000 military service members often ask themselves each year as they face their transition back to civilian life – and one McKesson stands ready to answer.

Members of the armed forces abide by a common set of core values. Integrity. Respect. Excellence. Duty. Service beyond self. Not so coincidentally, it’s those same values that guide McKesson employees on their mission of bringing better healthcare to all. That shared calling to serve a higher purpose is one of the many reasons military veterans play such a vital role at McKesson. They’re team leaders, planners and quick thinkers. And they know – because they’ve lived it – that the work they do here can save lives.

It’s why McKesson is especially proud not only to recruit veterans into the company, but also to provide them opportunities to lead mission-driven work throughout their careers.

Re-Instilling Purpose

When Drew Gardner left the military in 2014, one of his biggest concerns was finding a career as fulfilling as the one he led in the Army.

“One of the hardest parts of transitioning out of the military is losing that sense of purpose,” he explains.

That all changed when Gardner met up with an old military friend who told him about his new management position at a McKesson distribution center. He touted the career opportunities for veterans and encouraged Gardner to apply for a role.

Drew Gardner headshot

Drew Gardner

Working in a McKesson distribution center requires an immense amount of focus and teamwork. It’s where critical medicines and supplies are picked, packed and shipped out to customers and the patients they serve. With people’s health on the line, the tasks these employees perform must be done quickly and accurately.

It was exactly the role Gardner had been looking for. While in the military, he was responsible for the safety of high-ranking officials while stationed in war zones, a position that required fast action in times of danger. He later served as an operations officer overseeing 600 troops in his battalion, a rank that taught him plenty about making tough calls as a leader and being a mentor to a diverse set of personalities.

Today, he leads a team as the assistant director of operations at McKesson’s distribution center in Robbinsville, N.J. It’s a challenging position, and one that’s benefitted greatly from his military leadership.

“Instilling trust and a willingness to succeed in your employees is largely dependent upon the kind of bond you build with them,” he says. “Developing those close relationships was critical to my battalion’s success, and it’s why I feel so strongly about taking the time to do the same with every member of my team at McKesson.”

Supporting Progression in Rank

It’s one thing to recruit talent into a role. It’s another to foster their success once there. To that end, McKesson is dedicated to making sure veterans have all the support they need to not just grow in their careers, but to thrive.

That chance to pursue career excellence is the reason Renee Saxton joined McKesson.

Renee Saxton's headshot

Renee Saxton

In 1985, Saxton became one of the first two women to serve on the front lines in the Marine Corps. “That rare chance to prove myself was a huge milestone, and one that continues to fuel me as I’ve built my career outside of the Marines.”

After the military, Saxton began a career in customer service and marketing connected to the medical field. But when a recruiter from McKesson reached out to her, she was especially energized when he told her that she was a prime candidate at the company based on all on her experiences. “Good opportunities like that don’t come along every day,” she says.

Initially, Saxton accepted an entry-level position as a customer service representative. But her strong capabilities and work ethic enabled her to rise through the ranks into a more senior position. Now operating as a senior analyst of Strategic Sourcing, Saxton says this has been her most rewarding civilian role yet.

Like Saxton, Daniel Zorola’s path to success started with little more than the strong leadership skills he developed throughout his nine years of service in the Army.

“I had no idea what to do next and was afraid of the uncertainty I faced in my transition to civilian life,” he says. “I was a single father, and I didn’t know where to begin.”

That fear turned to hope, however, when he met a McKesson recruiter at job fair in Atlanta. He learned his military background could make him a good fit for a fast-paced training program within one of McKesson’s pharmaceutical distribution centers.

“In the Army we have a saying: mission first, people always,” he says. “The recruiter told me all about the company’s values of integrity, respect and customer-first, which stood out because they were so similar to how we lead in the military.”

Daniel Zorola headshot

Daniel Zorola

A short time later, Zorola landed a role as a trainee within the company’s Conroe, Texas distribution center. While there, he committed himself to developing the skillsets needed to expand into other parts of the company.

Today, he works as a business process consultant helping company leaders drive operational efficiencies. He – along with Gardner and Saxton – is also very active in the McKesson Military Resource Group (MMRG), an employee resource program dedicated to creating networking and training opportunities for veterans and their families, as well as helping them identify new job prospects within the company.

“Teamwork is engrained in the military’s DNA,” says Zorola. “It’s one of the many reasons I feel privileged to be a part of this broader network that enables us to collaborate and help each other grow. Ultimately, we know we have so much we can offer this company, so it’s up to us to work together so we all succeed in doing so.”

And that drive to be the best they can be – and inspire the same in others – is why many veterans find restored purpose at McKesson. Each day, the employees who once lived by the code of protecting our country and its people are now bringing that same dedication to protecting the lives of patients everywhere. It’s why McKesson is honored to be working alongside these heroes not just this Veteran’s Day, but every day year-round.